10 years on from Iraq: a violent country and a secretive state

At the tenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, it is said that the US won the war, Iran won the peace, and Turkey won the contracts. But did the US win the war? At a cost of £1.1 trillion and a death toll of 4,500 US troops, 32,000 wounded and with thousands of survivors still struck down with post-traumatic stress disorder, the US completely failed to anticipate the insurgency which eventually forced them out, and left in place a Shia autocracy closely allied with a resurgent Shia Iran.

Iraq remains a bitterly divided and violent country, and even the US goal of securing control of the enormous Iraqi oil reserves (second only to Saudi Arabia’s) they were forced to forego. If one had to pinpoint the moment when the US lost unipolar power as the world’s hegemon, it must surely be the comprehensive disaster of the Iraq war.

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The end of the biggest military disaster since Vietnam

The final pull-out of US troops from Iraq marks the end, or perhaps just one stage of the end, of the biggest military disaster since Vietnam. Every US-UK goal behind the invasion has been lost, in some cases humiliatingly.

Iran, the target for revenge after the sacking of the US embassy in 1979, emerges as a regional superpower with its political establishment now in full control of Iraq. Continue reading

Bush and Blair finally lose war in Iraq

Buried in all the reporting about Gadaffi’s death was a much more significant piece of news about the Middle East.   Obama announced late on Friday night – with a timing very likely connected to the news from Libya – that all US troops will be withdrawan from Iraq in 2 months time.   This is a total and comprehensive defeat for the US over Iraq on every count.

The main motive for the US-UK invasion in 2003 was to secure and retain physical control over the Iraq oilfields; they have lost that.   Another key motive was to obtain a political, military and economic platform in the Middle East from which to dominate the region; they have lost that.   Continue reading

Will Blair, Bush and Kissinger be brought before the International Court of Justice

That the former Serb General Ratko Mladic was able to escape detection for sixteen years, beggars belief. The relative’s house he used as a ‘safe house’ was reportedly searched some four times – presumably with Mladic being told to take a stroll while they took place. That the butcher of Srebrenica was finally arrested this week is largely down to the fact that Serbia’s accession to the European Union hung on him being apprehended and that the government in Belgrade now leans more towards pragmatic engagement than the nihilist nationalism that once had the Balkans in flames. Continue reading

Tony Blair’s War Reparations

There is much excitement and controversy too over the decision by former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to hand over the proceedings from his soon to be published memoirs. The Royal British Legion, and in particular a hospital for limbless ex Servicemen will be the main beneficiary – of an estimated £5 million from likely book sales. Or will it?

On one level this is an extraordinary act of generosity from the Prime Minister who took Britain into a number of Wars, including Iraq and the still continuing conflict in Afghanistan. Some say that this is Blair’s way of saying that he acknowledges the extraordinary sacrifice of British service personnel and that this is his way of putting something back. The Royal British Legion is extremely grateful for the proposed donation. A spokesman said that they had never received such a large gift before. It was not his job, he said, to ponder the motives for the gift. Quite so. That is for us. Continue reading